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Amazon and the art of listening

The surge in voice-recognition technology is being led by the market trailblazer in online shopping. Amazon is taking over territory on the strength of Echo, its handy five-year old platform for making Internet a more happily hands-free experience. The brand enjoys nearly half of the market share for searching for information online activated by oral communication – about the same as its share of e-business transactions in the US.

 

Ready for more

 

The digital giant is well positioned to make even bigger profits, with a significant percentage of Internet users not currently making use of voice-recognition technology to join the trend. Within three years, nearly four out of five netizens are expected to be making use of the convenience-boosting technology. While 85 per cent of Internet users have heard of Echo, 70 per cent know about its nearest rival, Google Home. Only three in 10 people have heard of the next biggest competitor, Apple HomePod.

 

Ready for even more

 

Coupled with the massive increased interest in online shopping, led by technological upgrades and the preferences and comfort in using social media navigating the Internet among the natives who make up an increasing percentage of the market, online shopping is here to stay, and represents a bonanza for tech-savvy digital marketers.

 

Is anybody listening?

 

Almost one out of three people are suspicious that their personal information is put at risk when using digital assistants and that their conversations can be tapped into and recorded, no matter how they attempt to take control of their privacy settings. For now, though the message is loud and clear: Amazon has achieved voice dominance, and will be doing everything it can to make sure we’re all paying attention.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Mistrust of brands soaring

Online shoppers are rather displeased these days with their overall interaction with brands, which are seen as not digging deep enough to win and retain customers. This is the key finding of a new report on Internet-based commerce, which details why firms of all kinds are still seen as staying too close to traditional methods.

 

More points, please

 

Close to half of respondents have excommunicated a company from their online lives for failing to win them over with enough personalization, promos and other perks. Free delivery is just for starters. It’s no longer impressive for product and service providers to give just a few token privileges, in an age where customers can easily find competitors eager to show that they could do a better job.

 

Wrecking the basics

 

For a label like “influencer”, influencers may not all that influential. They rank lowly in terms of trustworthiness in the new study. Celebrities are ranked even lower. At the top are family members and colleagues. The more distant the physical proximity and access to real-world interactions, the less likely the influence is, according to the report. At least movie stars have another, more important line of work, and are viewed as taking on work in advertisements because they are valuable for who they are more than what they say.

 

Lobbying behind the scenes

 

But many influencers have fallen into the trap that journalists have, by having a career that invites others to persuade them to promote a particular, often one-sided message. Least trusted of all, according to the report, and for similar reasons, were politicians. This reinforces a timeless PR message: if you are in a position where what you say and how you say it are taken note of, stay clear of corruptive influences if you want your reputation to last.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Getting personal, getting blocked

AI and other technologies that can be used to track and analyze data are harnessing info from the likes of social media accounts and online spending habits like never before. Algorithms are helping personalize newsfeeds, advertisements and much more. However, a significant range of Internet users are coming to think of this trend as less of a convenience when shopping and more of an invasion of privacy.

 

Give the people what they want

 

Although the differentiation of audiences and matching of client preferences with various products and services has long been talked up, the actualization of this phenomenon has only really heated up in recent years. Reception has been mixed, as consumers start thinking of how much privacy they are willing to give up in return for the discounts and promos that come their way. A new survey shows that almost half of respondents who use ad blockers would choose not to visit a website if they knew that it was personalizing advertising to visitors.  Moreover, the harvesting and use of information by advertisers is viewed by over six out of 10 people as inappropriate.

 

Digital natives are more okay with it

 

The strongest aversion to the use of IT to target audiences with specific material, perhaps not surprisingly, comes from generations that did not grow up with the Internet or were introduced to it later in life. No matter what comfort levels may be, though, the bottom line is that brands will need to work to keep trust among target audiences and long-term fans alike, as big data works to combine information like never before, and digital marketers grapple with how to best to use make use of it.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Edited, unedited and kinder versions of things you find online

Gen Z and Millennial netizens are coming to terms with some of the less satisfying aspects of their online lives, and working out ways to better find genuine connections and a new sense of community – things that, indeed, the Internet is supposed to be all about. A new study reveals a range of conflicting thoughts about time spent in cyberspace, and how it can perhaps become a happier place.

 

Can’t live with it, can’t live without it

 

Over half of respondents feel that overall online experiences make them feel less happy, yet almost just as many people said that they can’t imagine a life in which they don’t maintain at least one social media account. One big issue is how the technology helps spread images of perfect bodies adorned with perfect outfits and accessories, which can lead to thoughts of not quite measuring up among those exposed to them.

 

Perfectly imperfect

 

Four of 10 respondents said that they wished apps for editing photos and videos didn’t exist. Brands are reacting to the overabundance of picture-perfect influencers and amazingly adorned if somewhat intimidating models by keeping images realer in an attempt to not turn off potential customers.

 

Warning: ‘likes’ up ahead

 

Editing is still valued when it comes to the opinions of friends and others, though – tact remains a genuine enhancement. One of the survey’s most significant responses was how more than four in five people reported how they said their mood was affected by the numbers and percentages of likes that their social media posts received, and the types of comments they generated. In a world where more clothing is being bought and ideas exchanged online, it pays to make sure the words and images out there are making people happy.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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LIGHTS, CAMERAS, TRACTION. WHY VIDEO IS AN IMPORTANT ASSET IN PR.

We live in a world dominated by digital screens, they’re in our homes, in stores, on the street, on public transport, in planes, in our offices, and of course in our hands. So it is no surprise that video is one of the best ways to engage with an audience as there are so many options available to get their attention and drive engagement.

Video is social

Social media is dominated by videos, Instagram, once used only for photos is now populated by user videos and brand videos. Its IGTV offering has already proven to be extremely popular as has the Stories feature. In fact, video posts on Instagram receive 38% more engagement than image posts. Social media influencers on Instagram were fast to adapt to video and those who embraced it as part of their strategy saw their ‘Likes’ and engagement increase as a result.

Using video as part of a public relations strategy today is an essential consideration and there are so many opportunities to capture and create content from product launches to announcements, events, presentations, and speeches that can then be spread across multiple media outlets from broadcast to online.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s important to not only understand your audience but also the platform you plan to post your video on and ensure you have already considered your strategy for how to shoot and edit your video content to suit each format. For example with IGTV you need to remember that it is a portrait (vertical) format, whereas with Facebook you opt for either landscape (horizontal) or square and with YouTube landscape works best.

Team effort

Most of us are carrying a powerful video tool in our hands each and every day, our smartphones. So it is now much easier for the PR team to capture some behind the scenes and making of video content while your main video team are focussed on the prime content. Skilling up some team members to competently shoot video is not hard, arm them with a few add-ons for their phones and have a specialist give them a few lessons and you’ll have additional footage to fill some gaps to release on social media as either ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘making of’ content.

So when your planning your next PR campaign it makes sense to see how video can be incorporated and used to maximum effect.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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Childhoods on film

Gen Z is developing maturing perspectives on lives in which the highlights of birthdays, holidays and random events aplenty have been relentlessly captured, captioned and shared on social media. Images of the innocent things kids do which seem innocent enough at the time, to the doer can become sources of embarrassment best destroyed once adolescence kicks in. Yesteryear’s photo album, pulled out and shared sparingly with visiting friends and extended families has been replaced by fully labeled and ‘liked’ mini-encyclopedias of youth, day in and day out, available for the world to see 24/7, compiled by those who didn’t grow up that way but often featuring subjects that have little say in their having ‘gone public’.

 

Epic fails, memorialized

 

From literal run-ins with walls or dogs as toddlers to off-key versions of evergreen songs bravely performed in school concerts to sport days that may not have gone well or, worse, ended in goofy victory dances, the normal growing pains of the earliest years are there for the gawking. Generational Kinetics, a Gen Z-focused company, has through polls deduced that the world’s latest generation shows a heightened awareness of privacy rights, because fighting for them – often with their parents and friends – is the new normal.

 

Image control

 

Millions of people barely on the threshold of adulthood are being forced to enter negotiations to control elements of their public persona. Actors once came to such agreements with their agents, and companies still do with their PR representatives. But today it is the norm for everyone to be, at least potentially, known far and wide. Lives are lived in the public domain, or something close to it, monitored by CCTV. Young people today have grown up instant experts in cultivating their image – and coping with posts that spun out of their control long ago, and if even if taken down, leave behind archival memories and the stuff of myths.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Ads surviving and thriving

Some 90% of smaller businesses plan on increasing their budgets for this year, according to a new study. While the widespread and increasingly effective role of semi-autonomous influencers focused on special media platforms continues growing apace, and more and more customers get their information on products and services from peer reviews, the direct messaging of ad campaigns remains very relevant for spearheading and reinforcing the key messages streaming in from a dizzying variety of sources.

 

Making a name for yourself

 

Over half of the firms surveyed reported allocating less than $US50,000 on ads. Industry experts aware of new trends maintain that the benefits of advertising remains high in order to stand up and be noticed in an era marked by diminishing consumer loyalty. In terms of age differentiation, while both Millennials and Baby Boomers stated support of ads, Baby Boomers, who were less saturated with ads as children, were somewhat less likely to find them necessary.

 

Social media is where it’s at

 

In terms of placement, preference was by far strongest for placing ads in social media, with buying ad space on Google search pages, banners and retargeted advertisements also being popular. The dramatic growth of online shopping helps fuel the trend for the increasing relevance of traditional ads placed in new places, via the Internet. At the same time, traditional – and expensive – means of advertising such as on billboards and at bus stands shows only modest usefulness in terms of the much greater dividends paid for ads placed online. Despite the growth of big data and potential for specific sales and cashback pledges, ads online and everywhere remain based around the fundamental concept of generating greater brand awareness.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Millennials maximizing their online shopping potential

Reacting with gusto to the dramatically evolving patterns for spending money via the Internet, Millennials are spending like no other generation before them. New research indicates that those born in the ’80s and ’90s are outspending any other age group – both in stores and online.

 

Letting go of money

 

The study show that Millennials are the most likely of generations to drop $50 in the US or 50£ in the UK when they have a chance to so, no matter if shopping at home online or in person in the actual store. Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are not spending quite as much as the latest generation to have fully evolved into adulthood. Most likely, once Gen Z fully comes of age, this fully digital native batch will lead the pack in spending as well, as indicated by statistics on those born in the new century who have already joined the workforce and are spending like it.

 

Brand loyalty

 

By a small margin, young people of the Millennial generation are also most likely among the age groups surveyed to support particular companies when they felt their products, services and mission were aligned with their own. Millennials are also more likely to add more items into online carts when they are satisfied by the services provided by a company they like.

 

Subscription box boost

 

In the US, more subscription box business models for starting online income generation based around a particular niche were more popular than in the UK. The trend carried through for all generations. This popular multi-step model outlines how to go from idea to income, based on one’s Internet connectivity and networking skills for finding customers and giving them what they want.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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What is social listening?

Social listening is the process of collecting social data by monitoring terms, names and products associated with your brand and industry, with the aim of helping businesses monitor content performance and track competition. It exists as a logical step forward from something PR agencies have offered to their clients for many years – traditional media monitoring.

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